The role of nurses in advocating for policy change in healthcare

Nurses are on the frontlines of patient care and are uniquely positioned to identify areas where the healthcare system can be improved. As a result, they play a vital role in advocating for policy change. 

Nurses can be effective advocates for policy change in many ways, such as by writing letters to elected officials, testifying before legislative committees, or speaking to the media. By using their voices to call for change, nurses can help to make the healthcare system more effective and efficient. 

As one of the largest and most trusted groups of healthcare professionals, nurses have a unique and important role to play in advocating for policy change. Their voices carry weight and are considered to be honest, ethical, authoritative and patient-centered. They use their skills and training to provide valuable insights to policymakers and can help to shape the future of healthcare. By advocating for policy change, nurses can help to improve patient care and outcomes.

Are you a nurse interested in advocating for policy change? If so, there are several avenues you can use to get involved. You can participate in activities at the federal, state or local level; you can join forces with other healthcare professionals; or you can join professional organizations such as the American Nurses Association. Nurses will always have a tremendous impact on influencing policy change in healthcare, and the University of Indianapolis is on the frontline of preparing nurses to lead that charge with it providing modules on health policy and advocacy. As a well-trained nurse, your advocacy can positively impact the healthcare system and improve the lives of patients.

What is health policy?

According to the WHO, health policy consists of the plans, decisions and actions undertaken to accomplish distinct healthcare goals. It primarily encompasses any research, law or regulation that impacts healthcare providers and patients’ welfare. There are many categories of health policy, including individual health, public health, pharmaceutical companies, care providers and healthcare systems.

The importance of nurses in health policy

Nurses can play a vital role in promoting health policy by becoming advocates for change. By educating themselves on policy issues, they will be better prepared to make a difference. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience that can be used to improve healthcare. As a well-trained healthcare professional, you can use your voice to advocate for change. Nurses have the skills and knowledge to help transform the healthcare system into one that is more patient-centered, efficient and effective, thereby improving health outcomes for patients.

There are very few nurses who choose to pursue a career in health policy. Health policy requires specialized training and knowledge on policy issues that are outside of a nurse’s day-to-day job responsibilities. Most nurses do not have the time or resources to devote to learning the ins and outs of health policy. The reality is that it can be incredibly time-consuming.

Health policy affects all areas of healthcare, including the quality and delivery of care, access to therapies and the outcomes of medication. As an expert in your field, you will be able to provide valuable information to all levels of government officials and other healthcare professionals.

How can nurses influence policy change in healthcare?

Nurses can play a vital role in shaping health policy by developing new approaches to healthcare practice and delivery in medical facilities. Nurses have knowledge and skills in providing direct patient care, but they can also leverage their expertise to help identify areas where the healthcare system can be improved.

Here are a few ways that nurses can transform healthcare policies and shape patient experience.

Practice patient advocacy

As a nurse leader, you can promote policy transformation by presenting your patient advocacy skills through a shared governance model that empowers nurses in decision-making during nursing practice. This elevates nurses’ proximity to patients, and they benefit more when healthcare decisions are made by knowledgeable health professionals. This guarantees safe, effective and compassionate care.

Encourage change

Nurses are influential with elected officials and policymakers. They have the skill and experience to create change, and to share knowledge and mentor nursing students to mold the next generation of nurses. This will help them reform healthcare policies and navigate the healthcare system with ease. Nurses can help influence policies and regulations that support patient-centered care as they shape the future of healthcare.

Leverage leadership skills

Nurses can lend their trusted voice, credibility and experience to lead their communities and impact on local governance. As natural leaders, they can be instrumental in transforming healthcare policies. They can help identify areas of healthcare where policies need to be improved and then create a plan to bring about that change. This includes speaking with legislators, writing papers or articles, engaging citizen groups, and meeting with other organizations or groups that share their passion to improve health policy.